Middle Tennessee Boy Scouts will vote to uphold current policy - WSMV Channel 4

Middle Tennessee Boy Scouts will vote to uphold current policy

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America says it is not supporting a proposal to partially lift the group's long-standing policy on employees, volunteers or members who are homosexual.

For over a century, the Boy Scouts have had a policy in place that bans gays, and the national headquarters for the Boy Scouts is now considering lifting that ban for Scout leaders and youth membership.

However, in a statement released Tuesday, the Nashville-based council said it will vote to support the current national membership policy at the Boy Scouts of America's National Council meeting during the week of May 20 in Texas.

The BSA unveiled a proposal in April that says no youth may be denied membership "on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." A ban would continue on leadership roles for adults who are openly gay or lesbian.

Middle Tennessee Council Board President Lee Beaman said in a prepared statement Tuesday it is the council's duty to uphold the current policy, which bars openly gay members.

"Currently, sexuality is not a discussion point in scouting. It's not something we have in our program. It's not in our handbook," said Hugh Travis, Scout Executive for the Middle Tennessee Council.

Travis said the Middle Tennessee Council's opinion comes from a survey of leaders, Scout masters, volunteers and donors.

"Simple questions like, 'Would you allow a heterosexual Scout and a gay Scout to tent together?' Seventy percent said they would prefer that not be the case," Travis said.

Lifting the ban on gay Scouts has remained a hot-button issue.

While many groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention, have supported keeping the ban, one group of scouting families delivered a million signatures in support of a policy change in February.

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